PREFERENTIAL TRADE AGREEMENTS VS. MULTILATERALISM: IN THE NEW TRUMP-WORLD, DOES CANADA FACE AN IMPOSSIBLE CHOICE?

  • Judit Fabian

Abstract

As a small open economy, historically Canada has supported and had a strong preference for strong rules in a multilateral trading environment. However, the CUSTA and NAFTA agreements showed a practical approach as Canada was an early adopter of what became a major shift from multilateral to regional trade agreements (RTAs). More recently, like other countries, Canada has moved more aggressively toward RTAs as new multilateral agreements have become increasingly difficult to reach. Given the need to modernize and update the international trading system and the resource constraints in negotiating agreements, should Canada continue to pursue RTAs, return to its more multilateral approach, or – as Robert Zoellick suggests for the US – can/should Canada walk on 2 legs and pursue both types of arrangements? This paper examines the options while critically addressing whether RTAs help or hinder a multilateral system.

Published
2020-03-18
Section
Research Papers